Eco-minded Vermont and New Hampshire citizens can make a difference about the fastest growing greenhouse gas sector—transportation. Many individuals have made personal changes and numerous businesses are taking notice– and actions to encourage employees to commute more efficiently. Transportation requires attention at all levels, from improving access to Ridesharing to improving the physical environment for walking, biking to schools and jobs.
There are helpful statewide and regional resources and tools to succeed in making a difference in your own community. We have a lot to do, in a short period of time, if we are to meet our future, smartly.
Growing AWARENESS OF PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION– is a critical step to smarter transportation, but also because of the struggle to simply afford to drive, en masse, as single passengers. What you can do? Start an Awareness Campaign, including local bus or van services, bus routes, and the nearest rail stations and park’nride lots. Request a packet of brochures and stickers from GoVermont, bus schedules from your transit providers and go door to door, post information on bulletin boards in schools, p.o., town offices, supermarkets, and network with friends. Use social media.
GoVermont team will help you form a vanpool and fund up to $700/month for groups interested in traveling to work together. Employers save money by this service to our employees” When you figure the cost to build more parking spaces, obtain land use and run-off water permits (and the pipes to divert rain water), snow plowing, maintaining the parking garage or lot, AND the carbon emissions the argument for affordable, convenient, public transportation is clear. Decreased gas expenses, less wear and tear on your vehicle, and with internet access available on many buses, you can catch up on assignments, or just relax.
Many communities are promoting Safe Routes to School, a federal and state supported program encouraging our youth to use more earth-friendly, safer routes to schools. Similar to the seat belt law, we can change the perception of our children’s mind, by practicing use and to promote responsible habits. Offer incentives for NOT driving to school,maybe an an allowance equal to the amount of money you will save in gas and parking fees. . Share your progress with others at school functions, meetings, with teachers and parents.
TELECOMMUTING –Work from home, even if it is only a day or two a week. If you are home, you are not driving. Many companies are agreeable.If you have the tools necessary to complete your work assignments from home, ask your employer about implementing a Work-From-Home program, encourage your co-workers to join in your efforts.
BICYCLING/WALKING/E-BIKES – Middlebury & Brattleboro, Vt have made huge advances with their efforts as “Bike Friendly Towns.” Remember to involve your local police department, public works department, town planning board, and other town officials. They can provide helpful information including where existing and planned bike paths are.
Ask for volunteer efforts by town officials to assist in clearing the initial paths, planning additional bike routes and mapping existing ones. Engage local shops for support in a campaign that will promote bicycle safety, use, and awareness.
RIDE SHARE PROGRAM/CAR POOLING – All along the major transportation corridors of New England, you will see “Park & Rides”… Everywhere you go, at almost any time of the day or night, someone else is going there too!
Your one- stop- shop to ridesharing and starting a vanpool, and to learn about how to commute smart is at: www.connectingcommuters.org. It is easy to find helpful hints, links to park and ride locations, get a ride match and to track your efficient commute online in the calendar. This State of Vermont sponsored program is helping Vermonters will save money and stay in their jobs. Be Proactive! Way To Go campaign offers support, incentives and an awareness to use more earth-friendly and affordable methods of transportation. Find others where you work or play. You cannot be the only one who is traveling—to any destination.
Upper Valley Rideshare (UVRS) offers Upper Valley region commuters instant, on-line, bi-state carpool matching at: www.uppervalleyrideshare.com.
We all need to lower our emissions, decrease our dependency on fossil fuels, and become energy independent, if we are to call this planet home. Remain positive despite the warnings. If there is time, there is hope. With a “Yes We Can” attitude about major behavioral changes, such as the ones mentioned in this article, and implementing clean, energy efficient technology, “Yes We Can Do It.”
Community mini-grants of $500:
Ross MacDonald, Go Vermont Program Manager
Other helpful links: